Oliver Solberg will be partnered by Elliott Edmondson for next week’s Monza Rally, and says he hopes the new relationship will continue into the future.
The pair will be in a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC run by 2C Compétition on the World Rally Championship’s season finale in northern Italy, then Solberg will compete for the works Hyundai Motorsport team next season on a part-time program with an i20 N Rally1.
Aaron Johnston had been Solberg’s co-driver since 2019 but the pair parted ways after August’s Ypres Rally. Johnston joined Takamoto Katsuta for Rally Finland and Rally Spain in place of the injured Dan Barritt and the then-unavailable Keaton Williams, and has now been confirmed as Katsuta’s permanent co-driver.
Solberg meanwhile enlisted the services of Craig Drew for those two rounds but Edmondson joins for Monza.
The pair have already worked together in Sweden earlier this month, making pacenotes in a recce-style environment, and Edmondson joined Solberg for his pre-event Monza test last weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Elliott,” said Solberg. “We have spent some time together in the last couple of weeks and made a lot of practice with making notes together. It worked very, very well.
“He has good experience already and I think this can be a good way forwards. When we have been working together, he has already made some good ideas and some good planning for the future.
“The recce for Monza will be the next step for us and then the rally – I know this can be a tricky one with lots of information from the safety crew, but it’s a good place to start for Elliott and me.
“I want to say a big thank you to Craig Drew for the work he did with me in Finland and Spain,” he added.
“It was always the plan that we could come to work with Elliott in Monza, but it was great to have Craig with me – and I definitely don’t rule out to work with him again.
“It’s been quite a crazy time for crew changes – I don’t know if there’s ever been a season like this one from that side – but hopefully now everything is more settled.
“Like you can imagine, Elliott and I want to make sure we are working well as a partnership in Italy next week, but it would be good to make this for the future.”
Edmondson began the season as Gus Greensmith’s co-driver for M-Sport but was let go between Arctic Rally Finland and Rally Croatia, spending months on the sidelines.
But he has co-driven for Andreas Mikkelsen recently at a crucial time in Mikkelsen’s season as he won both the WRC2 and European Rally Championship titles with Edmondson in the car.
Mikkelsen has entered the Monza Rally as well in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, but with Edmondson linking up with Solberg instead DirtFish understands Mikkelsen will be co-driven by Phil Hall.
Hall has spent this season navigating Jon Armstrong in Junior WRC – the pair just missing out on the title on the final round. He has plenty of WRC experience albeit all in front-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta R2s or Rally4 machinery.
This is something which helps you to develop as a co-driver, to work in different environments. But as soon as I met Oliver and sat with him, it’s felt very good.Elliott Edmondson
Edmondson – who also sat in with M-Sport director and test driver Matthew Wilson on two British Rally Championship rounds this season – commented: “Like Oliver said, we have made a really good start together.
“It’s been very interesting to see how Oliver’s notes are working and how we can work together.
“It’s been a busy few months working in some different championships, with different drivers and cars, but this is great experience.
“This is something which helps you to develop as a co-driver, to work in different environments. But as soon as I met Oliver and sat with him, it’s felt very good.
“I’m sure Monza is going to be an interesting rally. We saw some really challenging conditions with the snow and ice last year – who knows if we’re going to see more of the same this time?
“I’m very excited to work with Hyundai Motorsport in Italy – I think it’s well known as a team which is like a family with a good atmosphere.”
Confirmation of Solberg’s Monza co-driver solves one of two lingering navigator mysteries.
Edmondson’s former driver Greensmith is yet to announce who will partner him next week as Chris Patterson retired from professional co-driving after last month’s Rally Spain.
DirtFish understands that an announcement is imminent, with Stuart Loudon thought to be a frontrunner for the berth.